For over 50 years, Cuba has been off-limits to U.S. citizens. We have been able to travel almost anywhere, but Cuba has been forbidden. However, this year, select tour companies begin Cuba travel excursions for Americans.
Columbus discovered Cuba in 1492, the largest of the Caribbean Islands, situated 90 miles south of Florida’s Key West. It is where Ernest Hemingway wrote “The Old Man And The Sea”, “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “A Moveable Feast.” Travelers can now explore Hemingway’s home, now a small museum, called Finca la Vigia.
In addition to this literary component is another of Cuba’s unique offerings: the natural/ecological dimension. Explore Viñales, a fertile valley where tobacco, taro and bananas are grown. Also, there are plants, trees, birds endemic to this area. The Viñales Valley has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since November 1999 as a cultural landscape enriched by traditional farm and village architecture. Old-fashioned farming methods are still used in Viñales, notably to grow tobacco.
Okinawa may have been made famous to the western world as the home of the Karate Kid’s mentor, Mister Miyagi, but the islands that make up this southern prefecture have been a popular relaxation retreat for native Japanese for centuries. Crystalline waters and abundant coral reefs, densely populated ancient forests, incredibly healthy food, one-of-a-kind architecture and a general peace-of-mind… you’ll soon understand why the diet and lifestyle of the region, earn locals the title of “the healthiest people on earth.”
- Editors, DailyTravelDestination.com
Not as big as Antwerp and less trammeled than such popular travel destinations of Brussels and Bruges, Ghent lies somewhere between a cosmopolitan frontier and a quaint, well-traversed city. Situated on the Flemish (northern) side of Belgium on the road from grand old Paris to lively Amsterdam, Ghent happily invites travelers to stop in and stay awhile. Stella Artois pours as freely as Bud Light does in America, Belgium frites call from street vendors with tiny sporks and Samurai sauce glistening in the European sun, and the bridge Sint-Michielsbrug offers views of the river and the three towers of Ghent. The city centre, enfolded by the largest car-free area of Belgium, is home to expertly preserved Medieval architecture from the Middle ages… a time when Ghent was one of the most powerful cities in Europe. With Ghent University comes an influx of young minds and great cultural modernization. Civic innovation is apparent in such city observances as “meat-free Thursdays” (known as Donderdag Veggiedag.) This new tradition is supported in conjunction with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization to help reduce global greenhouse emissions. The commitment to maintaining excellent walking and biking routes within the city – along with other new eco-efforts – makes Ghent one of Europe’s great, green cities.
Courtesy of DailyTravelDestination.com
Switzerland’s Appenzell, a half-canton of only 66 square miles, is packed with more charm and cultural richness than normally found in many countries. Cradled and protected by the surrounding Alpstein massif (mountains), this terrain would normally be inaccessible if it weren’t for the region’s intricate trail network linking dozens of welcoming guesthouses and mountain hotels that just happen to serve delectable cuisine.
Just to the south of Center City in of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires is the grand little barrio (neighborhood) of La Boca. Best known for their beloved futbol/soccer stars – the Boca Juniors – it is also a neighborhood ripe with a mixture of European and South American culture. And with the collision of two very unique cultures, you are certain to find a mixture of old and new.
A working class neighborhood and art colony, La Boca was settled upon long ago by Italian immigrants. Today, walking the Camanito, you are sure to find one of the best places in BA to be entertained by impromptu Tango performances while sitting on the collective patios of Italian influenced bars and restaurants. The small walking streets are governed by colorful houses, civic pride bursting from the windows like a cat trying to escape – a dream for the artist and photographer. Set off for the Museo de Bellas Artes Quinquela Martin – or the “Fine Arts Museum of La Boca” – to view original works by early 20th century Argentine Artists. La Boca, truly the heart of the city’s most authentic barrios, can be explored in as little as one full day. Words to the wise, though, map out your trip before you go. Cab Drivers in Buenos Aires are notorious for taking you far off of the direct path from point A to point B to pad their fare.